Constellation (TV series) and Many-Worlds Interpretation

There is a new TV series titled Constellation on Apple TV+. The plot so far (I don’t intend to be a spoiler and I don’t actually know much about the plot either because there have been only three episodes) is that a Swedish astronaut Jo Ericsson (portraited by Noomi Rapace) has returned to Earth after a catastrophic disaster led by a weird circumstance hit the ISS. But somethings in Jo’s life are amiss after her return home …

The show is entertaining, but more interestingly it appears to embrace Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. This perspective of quantum mechanics assumes the existence of the universal wavefunction which is the wave function of the entire universe and it never collapses unlike wave functions in Copenhagen interpretation. In this perspective, all the possible quantum states as different realities exist simultaneously, hence the name many-worlds interpretation. Another peculiar aspect of this perspective is that the observers are part of the wavefunction, i.e. the observers and the observed are all mixed together. What this implies is that there is no measurement in many-worlds interpretation. The proponents of many-worlds interpretation seem to support the idea of philosophical realism regarding the universal wavefunction, that it exists even in the absence of any mind perceiving it. It is an interesting concept but I am not buying it. Perhaps no one cares whether I believe it and this is merely my own opinion. First, my impression is that often physicists don’t seem to distinguish hypotheses and facts, and mathematical entities and physical entities (that we can actually measure and/or observe). Wave functions are not physical entities but merely convenient mathematical entities to represent the wave nature of particles and their quantum states. Extending the wave nature of matter (consequently, the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics) to the macroscopic world or to the entire universe is too far-fetched to be even remotely true. More importantly, you cannot have a viable physical theory without considering measurement.  If there is no measurement, the theory is not even falsifiable, quoting Wolfgang Pauli, it is not even wrong.

If you don’t care about all this, I think you can enjoy the show.

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